New Release Blog Tour: Razed by Shiloh Walker

Razed

Tattoo artist Keelie Jessup can handle that someone else has claimed the man of her dreams. She’s just not pleased with her remaining options…

Keelie doesn’t believe in the “perfect man.” But the men who are worth the trouble are usually taken—like her business partner Zach Barnes. After a string of bad luck and the lost chance with Zach, Keelie decides that maybe flying solo—and living with suppressed desires—is the key to happiness.

As a photographer, Zane Barnes has an eye for the human form, and his eyes can’t get enough of Keelie’s curves. Unfortunately, Keelie is like most women—always fawning over his little brother, Zach. Zane is about ready to give up, but then a few stolen moments at his brother’s wedding have him thinking maybe there’s a chance there after all. Now he just has to prove that the perfect man does exist…for her.

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Shiloh Walker is an award-winning writer…yes, really! She’s also a mom, a wife, a reader and she pretends to be an amateur photographer. She published her first book in 2003. Her newest series, Secrets and Shadows, launched in April 2014. Look for the newest book Deeper than Need, to be followed by Sweeter than Sin and Darker than Desire.
She writes romantic suspense, contemporary and paranormal romance, and urban fantasy under the name J.C. Daniels.

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Review: Razed by Shiloh Walker

Razed (Barnes Brothers, #2)Razed by Shiloh Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

This review may contain spoilers for WRECKED, the first book in the Barnes Brothers series. You could read RAZED as a standalone, but you’d lose a lot of context that reading the first book provides.

RAZED continues the story of Zane Barnes and Keelie Jessup that began as a secondary plot in WRECKED, and fills in the backstory of why they were unable to take the next step toward each other before now. Zane has loved Keelie for years but much like Abby in WRECKED, Keelie is mostly unaware of this devotion, only recently discovering that her crush on his brother Zach was entirely misplaced. When Zane finally makes his move at Abby and Zach’s wedding, Keelie responds positively at first, yet it still takes a few more months after that before they start dating. But each must resolve painful issues from the past before they can have a happy future together.

Although I was pleased that Zane and Keelie finally got to have the romance in RAZED that was only teased about in WRECKED, I began to resent any time the story was focused on characters and events that didn’t include the two of them together. It was obvious over the course of the book that Keelie was running away from something terrible, and as that thing got closer to finding her again, I had to resist being distracted by wondering what it could be, especially as it began to take up a substantial amount of the story. By the time the secrets were all exposed and Keelie was facing them head-on, I was simultaneously rooting for her to prevail and wondering when we were going to get back to her and Zane. Then when the overall story finally all came together and I was completely on board with where the romance was fitting in as the couple said their ‘I love you’s, it was abruptly over. (I know I’m biased when it comes to epilogues, but if ever a book needed one, it’s RAZED.)

Even though RAZED might not have been the completely easy read that WRECKED was for me, it’s still a worthy follow up to that story and an essential read for anyone who loves the first book and wants to see what happens next with the Barnes brothers and everyone in their world. I’m looking forward to reading BUSTED and hope that it provides the closure for Keelie and Zane that I would have liked more of in RAZED.

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Review: Master of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle

Master of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #5)Master of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review.

In MASTER OF PLEASURE, the fifth book in Delilah Marvelle’s entertaining School of Gallantry historical romance series, we meet yet another student in dire need of Madame de Maitenon’s special sort of tutoring in order to be worthy of the woman he loves.
Its hero was featured briefly in NIGHT OF PLEASURE and I enjoyed getting to know more about him and seeing him find happiness with the woman of his dreams.

Malcolm, Earl of Brayton, has lived his whole life suppressing the desires that would otherwise destroy him. Instead he’s devoted all his passion and energy to serving the man who’d rescued him from certain destruction years earlier. But when Malcolm stumbles upon an impoverished lady in distress who appears sympathetic to his needs, his resistance ultimately gives way to what he must do in order to win her love forever.

Leona Webster wasn’t the first woman betrayed by a faithless fiance and unloving aunt, but she was determined to provide a better life for her fatherless son than the one she’d had so far. If only she had the means to match her intent. When Malcolm saves her from those sent by creditors to take all her possessions, he’s not alone in experiencing sudden long-repressed feelings of attraction. But can she give him what he truly needs from her, or must she just settle for his temporary protection until he sails away for good?

There is a fair amount of story overlap between MASTER OF PLEASURE and the previous book in the series, but not so much that it would affect the enjoyment by a reader new to the School of Gallantry. I appreciated seeing how Malcolm’s need to protect women from what he deemed his innate defect was ultimately his saving grace once Madame de Maitenon convinced him she could teach him how to safely satisfy his desires. Leona is a perfect match for him, and they fit together well as she more than rises to the challenge of loving such a man as he. There is frank discussion of sexual masochism, and those sensitive to such a topic may take issue with MASTER OF PLEASURE. But I found that the author handled Malcolm’s needs and Leona’s expectations with straightforward sensitivity throughout, and I recommend MASTER OF PLEASURE to anyone looking for a lusty and loving historical romance.

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Review: Illicit Activity by J.R. Gray

Illicit Activity (Bound #3)Illicit Activity by J.R. Gray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review.

This review contains spoilers for BREACH OF CONTRACT, the second book in J.R. Gray’s BOUND series. If you haven’t read that book, don’t read this.

ILLICIT ACTIVITY is a fast but fierce novella that takes place during the time between the nominal end of BREACH OF CONTRACT and its explosive epilogue. It provides examples of just how painful the forced separation of Jesse and George has been for both of them, and how the actions of the vengeful blackmailer in that story are still causing reverberations in their community after his capture. There are several scenes with many of the characters from the two previous books, and more of the wonderfully intense BDSM encounters that have made the BOUND series such a compelling read for me. If you’re a fan of this series, ILLICIT ACTIVITY is a must read.

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Review: Only For You by Beth Kery

Only for YouOnly for You by Beth Kery

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Full review available at Night Owl Reviews.

Everything I love about Beth Kery’s erotic romances is here in ONLY FOR YOU. Readers get a quietly dominant hero determined not to let himself be hurt again, a heroine bent on showing him they are meant to be together without ever losing sight of her own wants and needs, a burning passion between them that never dies even when they are apart, and just enough drama and suspense to keep the path to their HEA interesting without overdoing it. Both Seth and Gia have let pride and misconceptions stand in the way of their love and as the threat to Gia’s life remains ever present in the background, they learn to trust and compromise so that everything can work out for them exactly as it should.

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Release Week Blog Tour: The King by Tiffany Reisz

the kingTitle: The King
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Date of Publication: November 25, 2014

Summary:

Cunning. Sex. Pure nerve. Only this potent threesome can raise him to his rightful place as ruler of Manhattan’s kink kingdom.

Bouncing from bed to bed on the Upper East Side—handsomely paid in both bills and blackmail fodder—Kingsley Edge is brilliant, beautiful and utterly debauched. No carnal act or chemical compound can relieve his self-destructive apathy—only Søren, the one person he loves without limit or regret. A man he can never have, but in whose hands Kingsley is reborn to attain even greater heights of sin. He plans to open the ultimate BDSM club­: a dungeon playground for New York’s A-list that’ll change the scene forever.

The club becomes Kingsley’s obsession—and he’s enlisted some tough-as-nails help. His new assistant Sam is smart, secretive and totally immune to seduction (by men, at least). She and Kingsley make a wicked team. Still, their combined—and considerable—expertise in domination can’t subdue the man who would kill their dream. The enigmatic Reverend Fuller won’t rest until King’s dream is destroyed. It’s one man’s sacred mission against another’s….

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Tiffany ReiszAbout Tiffany Reisz:

Tiffany Reisz is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Original Sinners series for Mira Books (Harlequin/Mills & Boon). Tiffany’s books inhabit a sexy shadowy world where romance, erotica and literature meet and do immoral and possibly illegal things to each other. She describes her genre as “literary friction,” a term she stole from her main character, who gets in trouble almost as often as the author herself. She lives in Portland, Oregon. If she couldn’t write, she would die.

Find Tiffany Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Q/A with Tiffany

-Do you have a favorite book or author you like to recommend? Do you have a comfort read?

I have a set of books I regularly recommend to people. Want to read amazing literature? Read my favorite novel of all time All the King’s Men by Kentucky author Robert Penn Warren. Want to read the most moving love story I’ve ever read? Read The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox. My comfort reads are Sherlock Holmes short stories and Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels.

-What is your guilty pleasure?

I’d need to feel guilt to have a guilty pleasure. Buying office supplies I don’t need is probably the closest I get to a guilty pleasure. I buy them and think about all the people out there who don’t have awesome office supplies like I do and I feel bad for them.

-Favorite Meal?

Coffee and an ice cream sandwich is my version of a “Power Lunch.” The combination of tastes is glorious.

-If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

My non-writer dream job is train engineer (what? I like trains). My realistic non-writer job would be working in a bookstore. That’s what I was doing when I started my writing career.

 

Excerpt:

“How much trouble am I in for getting out of the car without permission?” Kingsley asked.

“None,” Søren said, and Kingsley was wildly disappointed. “Let’s go. We can make it back to school by tonight.”

Kingsley followed him back to the car. The driver opened the door for them. When they were alone again, Kingsley said, “Or…”

“Or what?” Søren demanded.

“Or we could find a hotel and fuck in a real bed for once.”

“We’re not on a date. And here I was wondering where the real Kingsley had gone.”

“What do you mean?” he asked as the driver opened the car door for them. He slipped inside and Søren followed. They were on the road again before Søren answered.

“When you were with Claire—I wasn’t sure you were the same Kingsley I know and barely tolerate.”

“Why? Because I like kids?”

“You were good with her.”

“Kids are fun,” he said. What else was there to say?

“I never considered you would like children.”

“Well…I do. So what?”

“Nothing,” Søren said, laughing to himself. “Nothing at all.”

“I know you see me as some kind of pervert,” Kingsley said. “But believe or not, I am a human being. Yes, I like kids. I might want kids someday. I don’t have much of a family anymore. If I want a family I’ll have to make my own. Sometimes I have thoughts that don’t have anything to do with sex. I’m not just your toy, you know. I have feelings and—”

His impassioned “I have feelings” speech ended abruptly when Søren grabbed him hard by the back of the hair and brought his mouth down in a brutal kiss. Kingsley almost pulled away so he could finish his tirade before realizing he wanted the kiss so much more than the fight.

Kingsley returned the kiss with equal and greater passion. Søren yanked Kingsley’s jacket off him and threw it on the floorboard. Kingsley pulled his own shirt off and rolled on to his back on the bench seat. He’d remember the sensation of leather on his bare back all his life.

“Have you ever had sex in the back of a Rolls Royce?” Kingsley asked, trying
not to rip Søren’s shirt in his rush to unbutton it. He needed Søren’s skin on his skin right now.

“No,” Søren said. “But ask me that question again in an hour.”

Before Kingsley could respond to that, Søren grabbed his wrists, pinned them over Kingsley’s head and kissed him again—deeper, slower, but no less punitive. Kingsley groaned, and Søren slapped a hand over his mouth.

“Quiet,” Søren said into Kingsley’s ear. “We aren’t alone, and I’ll gag you until you choke if I have to. Understand?”

Kingsley nodded against Søren’s hand. A curtain and partition separated them from the driver. He couldn’t see them, but if they were loud enough, he could hear them. He’d disobeyed Søren’s orders to stay in the car, he’d yelled at him and talked back. He was going to get it this time.

Good.

Søren kissed him again. Kingsley kept his sounds of pleasure to a minimum even when Søren reached between their bodies, unzipped Kingsley’s pants, and stroked him hard. Every muscle in Kingsley’s stomach tightened. He sucked in his
breath sharply from the shock of pleasure. It took every bit of self-control not to moan audibly.

“You like this?” Søren asked.

“God, yes, so much,” Kingsley said, lifting his hips against Søren’s hand. He spoke in French and English. He was about to lose control of more than his language skills if Søren didn’t stop touching him like that.

“I think you like it too much.” Søren rose up on his knees and looked down at Kingsley.

“I don’t. I really don’t. I like it exactly as much as you want me to.”

“You’re pathetic when you’re turned on.”

“I am so pathetic right now.”

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Review: The King by Tiffany Reisz

The King (The Original Sinners: White Years, #2)The King by Tiffany Reisz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Second in the White Years books but sixth in the overall Original Sinners series, THE KING finally gives readers the story of how Kingsley Edge founded the 8th Circle, New York’s most exclusive and notorious BDSM club, and fills in more of the gaps only hinted at in previous books. Although no book in this series can technically be called a romance, this particular entry is the least romantic of the lot, reading more as a classic mystery, complete with red herrings, McGuffins, and more than a few double crosses. But that still didn’t mean anything less than a tip-top read, as I raced through its pages trying to guess just how everything would play out on the way to the ending I thought I already knew.

THE KING also advances the story of Kingsley and Søren’s relationship that began in THE PRINCE, showing how Nora would fit perfectly between them if Kingsley could learn not to resent her place in Søren’s heart. And when combined with the ongoing White Years’ conceit of framing each story of the past with a continuation of the characters’ present-day lives, the result is a essential volume for any fans of the Original Sinners series. Just make sure you’ve read all the previous books first, so as not to spoil the secrets revealed within.

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Review: Mine to Take by Jackie Ashenden

Mine To TakeMine To Take by Jackie Ashenden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review

MINE TO TAKE is the first in a new romantic suspense series by Jackie Ashenden, one of my favorite writers. It introduces us to the world of the Nine Circles club (aka the “bleeped-up billionaires club”) and tells the story of how its hero found the love of his life while trying to use her as an instrument of vengeance against those who had wronged his mother. Along the way we meet the other club members and discover the extent of the criminal enterprise they seek to expose, providing an ongoing plot that will presumably continue through the rest of the series.

Gabriel Woolf’s whole life has been defined by an event that occurred before he was born, and the hardships resulting from a single woman raising her son in an unforgiving world. After pulling his mother out of poverty by any means necessary, Gabriel is mostly on the straight and narrow with his successful construction firm, and has found a twisted camaraderie with the other members of the Nine Circles club. But he still seeks to destroy the man who ruined his mother’s life and when that man’s stepdaughter is thrown into his path, it doesn’t matter to Gabriel that she’s the sister of his childhood friend. All that matters to Gabriel is revenge.

Honor St. James is living the good life now, but she still remembers what it was like after her father’s suicide when the debt collectors took everything she and her mother owned. Now that her beloved stepfather needs help to save his company, Honor must keep that fate from happening a second time. Even if it means spending a week with Gabriel Woolf, a man who both fascinates and frightens her. But will it be worse to lose everything she’s worked for, or lose her heart to Gabriel instead?

Although there was a lot of world building going on in this initial Nine Circles book, for me the strength of MINE TO TAKE was in its intimate scenes between Gabriel and Honor. What I love best about Jackie Ashenden romances is her tortured alpha heroes and the whip-smart heroines who see beyond the defensiveness and aggression to the hurting soul within. And when this particular hero and heroine finally come together, the result is a romance between equals both in and out of the bedroom. Once they were fully a couple, I wasn’t as interested in the suspense elements as I was with their love story, though I did find the ending to be enough to make me want to find out what will happen in the next book. But for me, Gabriel and Honor are what made MINE TO TAKE a great romance, and a must-read for any fans of Jackie Ashenden.

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Review: Intrusion by Charlotte Stein

Intrusion (Under the Skin, #1)Intrusion by Charlotte Stein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review

I have been struggling with how to write a review for Charlotte Stein’s new book INTRUSION, the first in her new Under The Skin series with Avon Impulse. It’s her first foray into romantic suspense, and if this book is any indication, the rest of the series will be more of her best work yet. Stein’s gift with combining confusing emotions with passionate and often non-traditional sexual encounters has always made her erotic romances a special delight for me. But with INTRUSION, she’s included an undercurrent of impending danger that adds a sharp edge to each and every scene even as we know something terrible is going to happen before we can enjoy its promised HEA.

There’s not much of an initial backstory for Beth or Noah, though we can sense the shared nature of their individual traumas. Each has retreated from the world in their own way, although Beth still goes out and works at a job every day, returning to an empty home she doesn’t quite trust as safe. And it’s Beth who makes the first contact in a way that’s unconventional as every other part of this mesmerizing story. What follows is easily the best romance of any subgenre that I’ve read this past year, with a perfect title and a heroine who saves both her hero and herself in more ways than one.

My struggle with this review is how to convey why this story was so amazing for me without giving away exactly what Charlotte Stein has done here. INTRUSION really needs to be read cold, without any previous indication of where it will go or how it will get there. All you should know is that any biases you might have about romantic suspense, erotic romance, or even first person present tense should be set aside, however temporarily, so you can be totally open to what Charlotte Stein offers here. And then if you’re like me when you’re done, you’ll say “What did I just read?” and “When can I have more, please?” Because I just can’t imagine reading anything better right now.

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Review: Breach of Contract by J.R. Gray

Breach Of Contract (Bound #2)Breach Of Contract by J.R. Gray

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review.

This review may contain spoilers for LEGALLY BOUND, the first book in J.R. Gray’s Bound series. You could try to read BREACH OF CONTRACT as a standalone, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

BREACH OF CONTRACT continues the story begun in LEGALLY BOUND, a book I thoroughly enjoyed earlier this year after following the author on Twitter. (Full disclosure: I follow a ridiculous amount of romance and erotica writers on Twitter and they sometimes follow me back, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy or even accept every book they might have available for review.) LEGALLY BOUND introduced its readers to an underground BDSM community in contemporary Chicago populated by high-ranking politicians, law enforcement officials, and other prominent citizens concerned about their private kink becoming public fodder. As sole owner of the exclusive club where only the finest kinksters come out to play, George Siris is the unofficial ruler of this small but highly influential world. But even as he enjoys all the superficial benefits of such a position, his heart remains locked away, his true desire for any other person suppressed for as long as anyone can remember.

When Daniel Caplin found himself emotionally involved with Rafael Argon, the client he was defending against a police vendetta in LEGALLY BOUND, it was Daniel’s wisecracking legal partner Jesse Goldmen who was the voice of reason even though his own personal life was an even bigger mess. Now that Daniel and Rafael are in love and living together as a D/s couple in BREACH OF CONTRACT, Jesse finds himself jealous of what the two men have together. He’d thought himself immune to such feelings after years spent in a loveless marriage, yet when George offers a chance for him to escape, it isn’t only Jesse who’ll discover love in the unlikeliest of places. But when the vulnerable clientele of George’s club are suddenly threatened by a blackmailer bent on destruction, no one will be safe from what might happen next.

“You will learn to use that mouth of yours for good as well as evil.”

As much as I loved the unconventional romance between Daniel and Rafael in LEGALLY BOUND, I was even more enthralled by the thrilling emotional dance between George and Jesse in BREACH OF CONTRACT. The previous book had only teased at what might happen between them and it was that promise that made me so impatient to read their story. Here we eventually see that what the sarcastic joker and self-possessed Master have in common is a rejection of love purely as as an act of self-preservation, and that the trust required from them both still might not be enough to win their own happy ending together. For as Jesse slowly leaves his comfort zone to pursue what will either be the best or worst decision of his life, George must also contend with someone trying to destroy his club and the people he cares about the most. This added suspense provides the story’s overall driving element without overwhelming its romantic aspects or dulling the intensity of the various interactions between its primary characters. And even as a self-professed lover of epilogues, I can assure readers that the one here is both compelling and essential.

From its riveting start to its slam-bang finish, BREACH OF CONTRACT more than fulfills the promise of LEGALLY BOUND and has me just as greedy for the next story as I was for this one. If you’re looking for erotic M/M romance with strong suspense elements in a BDSM setting, I highly recommend both books in this intriguing series.

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